INEC Vets Nominations for Edo Gov Election Today

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•APC caretakers adopt six-point agenda to reposition party

Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

With the closure yesterday of the dedicated portal designed for political parties to submit the details of their candidates nominated for the Edo State governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will vet the nominations today, THISDAY was told last night.

This is coming as the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has adopted a six-point working document aimed at repositioning the party.
The committee has also promised to commence the process of reconciliation among leaders and members of the party at all levels.

THISDAY gathered that the INEC’s portal closed automatically yesterday after the expiration of the deadline given to the political parties to submit the details of their candidates.

A source at the commission said the commission would today open the portal to know the number of political parties that met the deadline.
He added that contrary to reports that the portal was opened yesterday, the facility was opened since Saturday.

The source, however, added that the candidates of political parties that didn’t invite the commission to monitor their primaries would be disqualified.

Confirming the closure of the deadline, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Mr. Festus Okoye, told THISDAY in Abuja yesterday that the commission did not extend the June 29 deadline fixed for the exercise, which ended at 6 p.m. yesterday.

He said the commission in line with fixed deadline and schedule of activities for the state election, shut down the dedicated portal at 6 p.m.
Okoye promised that the details of the nominations by the parties would be made public later.

“The portal for the submission was closed on Monday at 6 p.m. For now, I cannot confirm the number of parties that meet up with the deadline, but I should be able to do that by tomorrow (today),” he told THISDAY, adding: “We will process all the nominations tonight and by tomorrow we will make it public.”

INEC had earlier fixed June 27 as the deadline for the conduct of primaries and June 29 at 6 p.m. for online submission of names and details of nominated candidates for the Edo State governorship election, using a dedicated portal created by the commission.
The commission had earlier said 15 political parties had notified it of their intentions to conduct primaries for the state election.

APC, PDP Beat Deadline

But THISDAY findings showed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) met the yesterday deadline for the submission of the names of their governorship candidates and their running mates for the election.

APC submitted the name of Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Hon. Gani Audu as the governorship candidate and the running mate respectively.
A staff of the ruling party told THISDAY: “Yes, the name of Ize-Iyamu and his running mate have been submitted to INEC.”

Similarly, PDP also yesterday submitted the names of Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, as its governorship candidate, and Hon. Phillip Shaibu as the running mate.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, confirmed the submission in an interview with THISDAY.

“Yes, we have submitted the names of our governorship candidate and his running mate. We submitted around noon through e-submission as designated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“We downloaded the designated forms and filled the form 001 and the governorship candidate and the deputy governorship candidate filled their academic details and thereafter we uploaded the forms to the INEC portal,” Ologbondiyan stated.

APC Caretakers Adopt Six-point Agenda to Reposition Party

Meanwhile, the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the APC has adopted a six-point working document aimed at repositioning the party.
The committee has also approved the composition of Edo State governorship National Campaign Council, as well as Consultation/Reconciliation Committees for Edo and Ondo States ahead of the forthcoming governorship elections.

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Yekini Nabena, said in a statement yesterday that the meeting, held at the party’s national secretariat, in Abuja was attended by all the 13 members.

He said, members present at the inaugural meeting of the committee included the Chairman and the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni; Osun State Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola; Niger State Governor, Alhaji Sani Bello; former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani; Sen. Abubakar Yusuf; Hon. Akinyemi Olaide; Mrs. Stella Oketete; Dr. James Lulu, Chief David Lyon; Senator Abba Ali; Prof. Tahir Mamman, Mr. Ismail Ahmed; and the Secretary Senator John Udoedehe.

The ruling party was, however, silent on what the six-point document to reposition the party entails.

Nabena said: “The meeting unanimously adopted a six-point working document aimed at repositioning the party.

“Members also renewed their commitment to work as a family in the interest of the party and appealed to all leaders and members to give full cooperation to the committee in the discharge of its duties/mandate.”

The chairman of the committee, Buni, said the committee would commence the process of reconciliation among leaders and members of the party at all levels.

Speaking during the swearing-in of the other members of the committee, the Yobe State governor said the decision of NEC to constitute the committee would mark the beginning of a new chapter in the party.

To achieve this, he urged all party members to heed to the appeal by President Muhammadu Buhari that all aggrieved members who had instituted various cases in the courts should withdraw such cases in the interest of the party.

The chairman noted that what happened in the last few months was not totally strange in a big political party like APC, stressing that internal disagreements are common in all political parties and APC is not an exception.

He said: “lt is time for this committee, therefore, to commence the process of true reconciliation among leaders and members of the party at all levels. It is our belief that the decision by NEC to constitute this committee will mark the beginning of a new chapter in our great party.

“Change is inevitable and disagreement on issues and concepts are an integral part of human and institutional relationships. As a political party built on strong ideology and, parading men and women of enduring principle and integrity, we must prepare for real and anticipated changes and their consequences. The outcomes of changes that evolve in our party politics must be decided by us.

“As the interim managers and leaders of our party, our priority would be the recognition of the need to act appropriately and acceptably in the overall interest of the party. Our actions in the next few months would be proactive and responsive.

“From now onward, we will concentrate on medium and long term development of our strategies and internal organisation to support our public standing as well as our chances of electoral success in all future elections. This is the time for us to focus with determination to create adaptive institutional capacity to weather the current divisions in our party.”

Buni commended all party stakeholders who stood by the party in the time of turbulence, especially former NWC members who showed maturity and belief in the party unity by accepting the NEC resolution in good faith.

The chairman noted that what separate APC from other political parties and endeared the ruling party to Nigerians, are the sincerity of purpose, its principles of internal democracy and the unblemished integrity of the founders of the party.

Also, the immediate past Deputy National Secretary of the party, Mr. Victor Giadom, while speaking with journalists after his official handing over to Buni, said the party had been repositioned to a greater height with the calibre of people in the committee.

“I’m grateful to God, President Muhammadu Buhari, and leaders for rescuing our party from what would have befallen the party. Today, our party has been repositioned to a greater height and I can assure you with the calibre of people selected by the NEC to pilot the leadership of this party into the national convention. I feel indeed grateful and reassured that our party will remain strong and stronger and come out from the crisis, which we were all in these past few months. I’m more grateful to the members of our party and decision of NEC,” he stated.

He added that all the immediate past NWC members should be able to learn from mistakes made and also join hands with the committee to strengthen the party.